Statement on outcome of Measure 4
On June 12, voters in North Dakota approved Measure 4 allowing for the retirement of the Fighting Sioux name and logo. The consensus was resounding, a margin of 68 percent “yes” for to 32 percent “no.”
The immediate consequence of the vote will be to bring relief from NCAA sanctions, which have caused serious disruption and damage to UND Athletics in particular and broadly across the University as well.
The UND Alumni Association & Foundation, with the unanimous support of its Board of Directors, led the education and information effort across the state the past few months leading up to the vote. We stated clearly from the beginning that changing the name was not our preference, but the price of keeping it came at too high a cost to the University now and especially into the future.
In any business setting, censor or sanction by the governing body overseeing your work likely would put you out of business. NCAA sanctions are no different in their impact to athletics.
Scheduling issues with long-time rivals, conference affiliation risks, recruiting challenges, loss of home field/ice advantage under sanctions — all are examples of the loss of control UND Athletics has incurred under NCAA sanctions.
The emotional discussions around this issue have been no surprise to us. The shared passion and loyalty for UND, most often exhibited through athletics, have been tested by the debate to the point of division among alumni and friends, family, teammates, and colleagues. This has been very difficult to experience. The forgotten and most important part of this issue has been our students and student-athletes.
It is critical now that the voters in North Dakota have spoken so clearly that as a treasured name representing many generations of tradition and excellence is retired, we must come together to continue to support our students, student-athletes, faculty and administration as they advance the tremendous growth and potential of UND as a world-class institution.
I know we can count on each of you to play a role in supporting the University of North Dakota!
UND Alumni Association & Foundation